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Please find below all Forbo media releases listed by year.

Successful business year 2000

Eglisau, March 28, 2001

The Forbo Group reports a successful business year 2000. The sales rose to CHF 1,777 million (previous year: CHF 1,755 million). With CHF 91 million, the Group's net profit reached a new record high (previous year: CHF 86 million before specific provisions). These figures reflect the positive impact of the consistent strategic renewal pursued by the international producer of floor coverings and industry specialties. The prospects for the current business year are considered positive.

Profit at record level
In the business year 2000, the Forbo Group recorded net sales of CHF 1,777 million (previous year: CHF 1,755 million). The operating profit rose by 6 % to CHF 131 million. The activities in the fields of Plastic Profiles, Decorative Films and Coated Textiles which were divested in the course of the business year accounted for CHF 177 million of sales. With these divestments Forbo is consistently continuing its focus on core activities. Continued operations alone increased sales by 4 % to CHF 1,600 million and operating profit by 12 % to CHF 138 million. With the Group's net profit of CHF 91 million – representing more than 5 % of sales – a new record was reached in the history of the company. At the same time, net debt could be reduced by CHF 48 Mio to CHF 157 million. Thus, the shareholders' equity in relation to the balance sheet total rose from 46 % to 53 %. The earnings per share rose by
6.1 % to CHF 61.98 (previous year: CHF 58.44 before specific provisions).

Progress in the operating activities
With nearly unchanged sales of CHF 1,010 million with floor coverings, the operating profit was increased by 7 % to CHF 111 million, mainly as a result of the Linoleum and Carpet Business Units.

For the first time, the company is reporting detailed figures for Adhesives and Belting. Sales of CHF 206 million in the Adhesives Business Unit were slightly below the previous year's level as a result of exchange rate movements. The operating profit of CHF 20 million was clearly below previous year. This development is mainly due to higher raw material prices. Counter measures started to become effective only in the last quarter of the business year.

Business with Belting was exceptionally dynamic, with a sales increase by 14 % to CHF 383 million. The operating profit rose by 38 % to CHF 28 million. Measures to lower the cost basis are showing first effects and will have a positive impact in the current year.

Essential progress has been made with the continued internationalization of business activities. In line with the Group strategy, the sales percentage outside of Europe could be boosted by 25 %. It now accounts for 23 % of the Group's net sales (in the previous year on a comparable basis: 19 %).

Share buyback program announced
The distribution of an unchanged dividend of CHF 22 per registered share is proposed to the General Meeting of Shareholders. Because of the extraordinarily favorable financial situation, Forbo is planning to buy back own shares worth up to CHF 200 million in order to reduce the equity capital. The buyback shall be made through the issue of traded put options and – at a later time – through the opening of a second trading line. Details on the planned buyback scheme will be defined until the Annual General Meeting on April 24. With this shareholder-friendly buyback of own shares, Forbo intends to optimize the capital structure and at the same time maintain its financial flexibility for further expansion through acquisitions.

Platform for growth established
Progress with the implementation of the Group's strategy in 2000 created the preconditions for accelerated organic growth of the core business. Sufficient resources are available for expansion through acquisitions for which the company is applying high quality criteria. The goal is to reach sales of CHF 3 billion by 2004.

The operating business will focus on three objectives in the current year: Intensified market coverage, increased innovation, and more efficient use of resources. This shall ensure profitable sales growth and further improvement of gross margins. For the year 2001 Forbo is expecting an increase in the profit per share by about 10 %, provided there will be no substantial deterioration of the economic conditions in the company's key markets.

Forbo at a glance
Forbo is a global producer of floor coverings and industry specialties. The group employs some 6 000 people worldwide and has an international network of 28 production companies in 12 countries and 70 marketing organizations in 26 countries. With an attractive product portfolio and well-established brands, Forbo has a leading position in some markets. One of its key products is linoleum, an environmentally friendly floor covering that is attractive also in terms of design. With a world market share of some 60 %, Forbo is the market leader in this segment.


Ursula Leonhard
Head of Corporate Communications
Tel: + 41 1 868 25 69
Fax: + 41 1 868 35 69

Gerold Zenger
Chief Financial Officer
Tel: + 41 1 868 25 25
Fax: + 41 1 868 25 26